Missouri Latest State to Push for Online Sales Tax

Categories: Bidness, Politics
amazon frown.JPG
Local retailers want to wipe that smug smile off those Amazon.com boxes.
Two state representatives held a press conference today in the University City Loop, calling attention to legislation that would add sales tax to purchases Missouri residents make over the Internet.

State representatives Margo McNeil (D-Florissant) and Rory Ellinger (D-University City) are pushing similar bills (HB 278 and HB 52) that would require the Missouri Department of Revenue to begin collecting sales tax from online merchants.

The effort is getting strong attention this year, as Missouri is again expected to have a significant budget deficit -- and the state's brick-and-mortar retailers continue to lose sales to online retailers. According to the legislators, a University of Tennessee study revealed that total state and local sales and use tax revenue losses from e-commerce sales in Missouri will likely exceed $184 million in 2010 alone. That figure is expected to grow to $234 million in 2012.

Today's press conference was held outside Subterranean Books in University City, where several local booksellers gathered to lend their support to the legislation.

"We are losing more and more business every year to folks buying books from Amazon instead of from us, and I have no doubt that it's because purchases from Amazon start with a ten percent tax-free advantage," said Subterranean owner Kelly von Plonski in a statement issued yesterday. "That's a scenario where we lose, University City loses and the state of Missouri loses. We collect sales taxes from both our in-store and our online sales. There's no reason that these huge Internet companies with their in-state affiliates should be let off that hook. It's more than just an unfair starting point. It's the law in Missouri, and they are willfully breaking it."

Illinois passed a similar law this month. New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Colorado all require online retailers to either collect sales tax or report purchases to state officials for tax purposes. Vermont and Arkansas are considering similar bills that would also tax online purchases.

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10 comments
jbo5112
jbo5112

Umm...for the best sellers I checked, you can slap a 80% sales tax on Amazon.com and it's still cheaper than a tax-free Subterranean.  Amazon STARTS with about a 45% off discount on best sellers, then they charge less shipping.  You can blame taxes all you want, but it won't even make up for the difference in shipping.  Amazon also has a more famous and easier to use website, which must be important because they also outsell buy.com who charges even less.  Sounds more like some people are angry because they are fairly beaten by the competition.  I thought reporters were supposed to examine an issue, but I will give major credit for listing the bill numbers with links.

P.S. Missouri's projected deficit is $704 million, too large for the extra revenue to fix.  Meanwhile, there are at least a dozen states that are currently running surpluses and several have projected surpluses.

P.P.S. Depending on the merchant, Amazon claims to collect Missouri sales tax, as well as other states.

Making Money Online Tips
Making Money Online Tips

The Internet takes tax-free shopping to a new level. In fact, no-tax shopping has become a prime lure of online retailers looking to hook consumers on click-and-charge buying. Despite what you sometimes hear, however, some Internet sales are subject to sales tax, and even when a site doesn't collect sales tax, consumers are technically responsible for remitting any unpaid sales tax on online purchases directly to their state.

Mntvernon
Mntvernon

Do these two dork-wads (Rory & Mongo) not know the revenue legalities were addressed by ex-guv Holden:http://www.sos.mo.gov/adrules/... ?With leadership 'searching the living room sofa for loose change' we'll no longer be a minority in the General Assembly... we'll be extinct!Why couldn't these whiney wimp booksellers get with the times and get a presence online? Luddites!

Oh
Oh

Sad, but it's only a matter of time until almost every state charges sales tax on online sales.

hotdogwaffles
hotdogwaffles

There is something really sad about the frowning amazon box... poor little dude...

hotdogwaffles
hotdogwaffles

If they are actually breaking the law, then prosecute them and stop talking shit. Oh wait... that is all you can do is talk shit cause they aren't violating the current law. All Amazon will do is cut ties with Missouri affiliates which will cost us some jobs and still not make us any money.

MIKEEEEE
MIKEEEEE

i used to pay vitaminshoppe missouri sales tax when i mailordered vitamins years ago.

Dr JJ
Dr JJ

Of course we MUST tax the ordinary citizen buying books. We MUST leave the millionaire's alone or they will crap on us, send our jobs overseas, destroy our middle class, fire schoolteachers, let the potholes get bigger, maybe get a larger share of the nation's wealth. OH WAIT THEY ALREADY HAVE!!!!!!!!!!1

KAY
KAY

soooo....this has happened in 23 other states. and Amazon has not stopped doing business in those states. Not even close. Thanks for playing, try again please. This time try to be a little more classy, or at least more creative and not drop a curse word in every sentence.

STLNEWSMOD
STLNEWSMOD

Is vitamins shoppe a Missouri business? If so then I think they have to charge sales tax to state residents.

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